Republican earns 10 awards in MPA newspaper contest

Republican staffers (from left) Dennis Warden (publisher/owner), Roxie Murphy and Dave Marner are pictured Saturday with Missouri Press Association President Jeff Schrag with awards presented in the MPA Better Newspaper Contest.

The Gasconade County Republican received 10 awards Saturday in the Missouri Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Contest for work produced in 2016.

Awards were presented during the association’s 151st annual convention held in Springfield, Mo.

Dave Marner, managing editor, received first-place honors in Best News Story for coverage of the Inez (Tulk) Gregory homicide in August 2016 (“Shooting victim was army veteran, mother of four boys”). Toby Gregory, her estranged husband, remains jailed in Steelville and is scheduled to plead guilty to his wife’s killing on Oct. 13.

“These stories were written in the face of a court order banning police agents from talking with the reporter, making his job extremely difficult,” the judge wrote. “Still, he covered all the bases while speaking with a family member to get the information needed to tell clear, concise stories.”

An editorial (“One step closer to reality”) written by Marner on proposed state legislation adding a cellular telephone fee to fund 911 centers across Missouri was awarded the Tilghman Cloud Memorial Editorial Award.

“A succinct argument leans on the facts to address an important local issue in a timely manner, and includes a call for action,” the judge wrote. 

To date, the legislation has not been enacted — Missouri remains the only state in the nation without such funding for 911 services on cell phone bills.

The Republican was awarded second place in the General Excellence category among class 2 weekly publications based on circulation. The three editions comprising the entry included reporting and photography by Linda Trest, Roxie Murphy, Jacob and Dennis Warden, and Marner.

Entries in this category include all aspects of the newspaper including advertising and public notices. The Republican’s entry included production work by Ruth Jost and Tammy Curtis.

Will Johnson received a third-place award for a feature photograph of Owensville Elementary preschool children meeting Owensville firemen. One shy boy covered his face as the fireman crawled over to him and a faculty member. 

“…the funny and all too familiar moment is what stood out from this image. Well done,” the judge wrote.

A leaping Sean Irwin interception captured by Johnson in 2016 earned The Republican’s sports editor a third-place award. “Great timing on the interception, photo is sharp, composed, and a key play,” the judge wrote.

The Republican swept the Best Photo Package category with first, second, and third-place honors.

Coverage of the Owensville High School’s Class of 2016 graduation ceremony earned first-place honors. “Nice collection of moments, good photo variety,” the judge wrote about images by Jacob Warden and Marner. Coverage by Johnson and Marner from the 2016 Thresher’s show in Rosebud was awarded second place.

“Nice choice for the lead photo — colorful and impactful,” the judge wrote.

Marner’s coverage of Missouri River Relief’s outdoor education program involving local high school and middle school students along the Missouri River was awarded third place. “Nice variety of photos showing the river clean up project,” the judge wrote. 

The Republican’s editorial page was awarded third-place honors. “The Gasconade Republican offers the most attractive layout among this year’s entries, and it uses a good collection of local and regional opinion, along with letters and a cartoon.”

Dennis Warden, owner and publisher, was awarded third place for Best Informational Graphic he created last July which included a map showing the path of the total solar eclipse over Gasconade, Maries and Franklin counties and communities in The Republican’s coverage area.

Awards were presented at the University Plaza Hotel.